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Bose vs. Sony Soundbars: Which Is Better?

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Bose vs. Sony Soundbars: Which Is Better?

Key Points

  • Bose soundbars generally have better sound quality and more accurate audio spatialization than Sony soundbars.
  • Bose soundbars are more cost-effective, offering comparable functionality at a lower price.
  • Both Bose and Sony soundbars support popular audio codecs like Dolby Atmos, with Sony also supporting DTS:X.
  • Sony soundbars tend to be larger in size, while Bose soundbars pack a lot of power into a smaller package.

Both Bose and Sony are known for their premium consumer electronics. Bose, in particular, has had a reputation for providing stellar audio products. However, when shopping for soundbars, you can get bogged down in the choices. This guide hopes to dispel some of these choices by giving a more straightforward answer when looking at comparable soundbars from both of these manufacturers.

Bose vs. Sony Soundbars: Side-by-Side Comparison

Bose SoundbarsSony Soundbars
PricingMid to high-endMid to high-end
Audio Codec SupportDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital SoundDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Sound, DTS:X
Voice Assistant SupportAlexa and Google are supported on certain modelsAlexa and Google Assistant are supported
Smartphone SupportApple AirPlay and BluetoothApple AirPlay and Bluetooth
Wireless ConnectivityBluetooth and Wi-FiBluetooth and Wi-Fi
Automatic Room CompensationYes, Bose has ADAPTiQ for adapting audio to more reverberant roomsYes, Sony has implemented an acoustic calibration in the system menus

Both Bose and Sony create high-end sound bars, as you’ll see in some more in-depth comparisons. There are some notable differences in how both manufacturers approach soundbars, however.

Bose vs. Sony Soundbars: What’s the Difference?

Sound Quality

Bose is going to win this in most cases. The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is one of the best choices in its price range. You get a stellar and clear sound with some unique methods of providing spatial sound. The Smart Soundbar 900 is Atmos-compatible, so you can reap all the benefits of compatible media.

Bose implements PhaseGuide technology for providing directional sound. The soundbar itself comes with nine sizable speakers. You won’t need a subwoofer thanks to the clear and present bass on this particular unit. Atmos sound is portrayed authentically, with psychoacoustic trickery used for distance and height.

Our
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
$699.00
  • Two custom-engineered upfiring dipole speakers 
  • Exclusive Bose Voice4Video technology
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect
  • Bose TrueSpace spatial processing
  • Built-in Google and Alexa
  • Noise-rejecting microphones
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 12:23 pm GMT

Sony soundbars can have a more cramped soundstage, meaning you perceive less overall width. However, these soundbars also use something called 360 Spatial Sound Mapping, which helps to emulate similar sensations as seen in the Bose Smart Soundbar 900.

The closest equivalent from Sony is the HT-A7000, a 7.1.2 soundbar. You’ve got a pair of upward speakers, a pair of beam tweeters, and five speakers facing the viewer for directional sound. It isn’t quite as convincing as Bose’s implementation, but it still does a fair job.

Where Sony has the edge is in the automatic room compensation. Soundbars can fall victim to mediocre sound quality in poorly treated rooms. Sony’s technology automatically compensates for this so you get nominally great sound no matter where the soundbar might be located.

Performance

Overall performance for both soundbars varies quite a bit, as you can imagine. Using Bose’s flagship Smart Soundbar 900 as another example, you’re not going to notice a drop in volume. When the soundbar is active, you can readily fill a large room with sound.

Sony’s offering, the aforementioned HT-A7000, is likewise a clear and present performer. You’re getting quite a bit of volume out of its speaker array. It does seem to struggle a bit when faced with larger rooms, though.

This could be alleviated with acoustic panel treatment, but that’s an additional cost. If you’re spending this much on a soundbar, you don’t really need to splash out for additional accessories to get the top performance out of it.

Pricing

Pricing is a huge sticking point with both soundbar companies. To get a comparable soundbar with the same functionality from Bose, you’re going to be paying substantially less. The Smart Soundbar 900 has a retail price of $899.99, but you can routinely find it on sale for under $700.

High-End Choice
Sony HT-A7000 7.1.2ch Soundbar
$998.00
  • DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Vertical Surround Sound Engine
  • 360-degree sound mapping
  • Converts audio to 7.1.2 Ch automatically
  • 4K/120 and 8K passthrough for the best visuals and gameplay
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 12:42 pm GMT

Compare that to Sony’s pricing structure, using the HT-A7000 as an example once again. The retail pricing for the HT-A7000 is $1,399.99, with sale prices roughly reaching below $1,000. With this in mind, the Bose is a more cost-effective choice especially when considering the overall performance. You’re spending $400 to $500 less for a more powerful piece of audio technology. The Bose also has better sound quality and more accurate audio spatialization.

Audio Codec Support

Both Bose and Sony are on equal footing when it comes to supported audio codecs. Codecs like Dolby Atmos have been a popular choice for spatial audio without the hard requirements of multi-speaker arrays.

Thankfully, both Sony and Bose have risen to the challenge and have a number of soundbars with full support for Dolby Atmos. They might not be a true depiction of Dolby Atmos, but they do quite well without the need for speakers cluttering your viewing area.

Sony even offers support for the likes of DTS:X, which isn’t an ideal solution for spatial audio but is far better than stereo. Both also support newer Bluetooth protocols, meaning you’re getting less lossy audio when utilizing wireless subwoofers or additional peripherals.

Size

Your soundbar doesn’t do much good if it is taking up a considerable amount of your viewing area’s real estate. Sony soundbars seem to lean toward being larger overall, making for a little more difficulty in placement.

You’re looking at around 54 inches in length for the HT-A7000, which is quite substantial. When you factor in other aspects, like the overall cost and performance of the unit, it does beg the question of whether you need such a large soundbar.

Bose packs quite a bit of power into a smaller overall package. You’re looking at under 42 inches in length for the Smart Soundbar 900. This is a more powerful and better-sounding soundbar, and it is nearly a full foot shorter.

Every viewing space will have different requirements. If you have a smaller viewing space, going for a Bose soundbar might better suit your needs. You’re still going to fill the room with sound, but you can more readily place it near your TV without any concerns.

Bose vs. Sony Soundbars: 6 Must-Know Facts

  1. Bose soundbars tend to fill the room with sound in a better fashion than their competitors.
  2. Bose soundbars have a better spatial audio implementation thanks to the likes of PhaseGuide.
  3. Bose soundbars offer great performance while costing less than the competition.
  4. Sony soundbars offer automatic room compensation for volume and frequency distribution.
  5. Sony’s higher-end soundbars offer over seven channels of audio, making them ideal for use in surround sound setups.
  6. Sony soundbars cost more than the competition, which could be a dealbreaker for some users.

Bose vs. Sony Soundbar: Which One Wins? Which One Should You Choose?

So, which of these soundbar manufacturers should you choose? Sony does offer a compelling product, but the higher cost and average spatialization don’t translate into a must-buy device. You could certainly have an entertaining viewing experience with the audio from a Sony soundbar.

That said, you’re better off choosing a Bose soundbar. They don’t cost nearly as much for equivalent performance and you’re getting a better sound stage. If you’re the sort of viewer who wants optimal audio, then Bose is the choice to make.

You’d be well set with soundbars from either manufacturer. However, if you’re looking for great performance and want to save a little on the side, then Bose has a definite edge over Sony in how its soundbars perform.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can soundbars be true surround sound?

No, provided you’re just using a single soundbar. True surround sound would need satellite speakers to achieve the true effect. Soundbars can come close, however.

Is Bose a better buy?

Generally speaking, yes. You’re getting more for your money, especially when considering some of the competition. Bose does receive stiff competition from the likes of Sonos, however.

Do I need HDMI to connect my soundbar to the TV?

HDMI is the ideal solution. However, some soundbars come with Bluetooth, optical, and Wi-Fi options for connectivity. As such, it is more about determining what options work best for your setup.

Is Sony a reputable manufacturer?

Sony has been producing consumer electronics for decades now. It is safe to say that Sony is a reputable company if you’re purchasing a soundbar or any other sort of electronic.

Should I treat my room for soundbar use?

Acoustic paneling can certainly help in canceling unnecessary sound reflections and resonances. However, it isn’t an absolute necessity for home viewing. If you want to eke better performance out of your soundbar, it could certainly help.

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